Guest Post & Photo by Bambi Cantrell
I remember telling a man friend once about a difficulty I was having with another person, and he immediately set upon finding a solution to my obvious problem, when in fact, all I really wanted was someone to just let me vent my frustration. There was no solution.. no fix.. just a need to express my thoughts and feelings. I think that is where many photographers that happen to be men run into difficulty. They are always trying to fix things, when we don’t want a fix we just want to hear our thoughts out loud and then do what we are going to do anyway. I know that doesn’t sound logical, but there are times in our lives when logic flies out the window in the face of emotion. Take sin for example. Would we have sin if emotions didn’t get in the way. Think of how powerful the emotions are. They move people to do extraordinary things, to move mountains, and yes in spite of great obstacles, to fall in love. I think that is a part of the equasion that many men miss when it comes to photography. They think in terms of the bottom line, and of the sale of 8 x 10s and the comparisons of this package with that one and overlook the fact that if a product has got us at hello, we will start trying to rationalize a purchase even though it might be higher in price. In fact, sometimes it is a security plus when the product is higher priced. We actually feel a bit more secure paying more, feeling like if we pay more we will get a better product.
Here is an example of what I am talking about.
Plastic surgery- A woman goes in for a consultation with two doctors Dr. A is very affordable, cuts his costs by working out of his home, infact he has a surgery center in his basement. He employes his elderly, 73 year old mother as his nurse and assistant. She comes to the front door with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of her thin, shriveled lips, and ushers the potential client into the living room for the consultation. As the client walks into the room she notices the pungent smell of cats, and three of them are pushed off of a very dusty, fuzzy (from all of the cat fur) couch where she meets the Dr. Dr. Cheap has a night job as a caretaker in a vet clinic, (which is why they have all of the cats) and does the plastic surgery on the side. But hey, he is very cheap will throw in a boob job with a face lift. (Work with me here, I live in California) In the end, he is willing to do the job (and two for the price of one) and can get you in this weekend. Now on to Dr. B Dr. B charged for his consultation, and the client had to wait for 3 weeks just to get in for that consultation. When the client goes into the office for the appointment, she is met by a lovely woman who hands her a beautifully appointed brochure, filled with gorgeous photographs of woman the befores and afters and guess whose photo is among them? Yes you guessed it, the nurse. She is actually 65 years old, but doesn’t look a day over 42. The client is then introduced to the Dr. Dr. Lovely wearing his lovely Dr. garb, cute cap and all. Dr. Lovely can do the work but it is twice as much as Dr. Cheap, and he can’t do the job for at least 3 more weeks. Which one of the Doctors in this scenario would you select? You see there are times in our lives when we give ourselves permission to spend more money, when it is appropriate, and yes acceptable. Christmas, Birthdays, and yes weddings. Remember the old line Oh Honey, its her wedding.
So, my advice to men and women alike? Pay attention to details, use gorgeous emotion envoking photographs that are different looking. If you wish to sell a higher priced product, don’t think you can just show the same kinds of images they see anywhere. Show something different, like you might see in a designer salon. Once you have the different, emotion envoking images, make sure to put your pricing information on beautiful, tactile papers, that feel expensive. It is all part of the validation process. If you need ideas, go to a large city and go into the Gucci store purchase the least expensive product you can, and then tell them to gift wrap it. Believe me, It is worth it just to watch the way they wrap it.